CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3990
SUMMARY OF INSPECTIONS AND WORK DONE DURING THE MONTH AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
SUMMARY OF INSPECTIONS AND WORK DONE DURING THE MONTH AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
Left No.10 Stationary Hospital early and went to 2nd Army Headquarters, where I saw the General and Surgical Consultant, Colonel Maynard Smith, and it was decided that I was to put up all the points which we had previously discussed for approval. Learnt that a conference was being held there today with reference to what part of the line the French were to establish their units in and whether it will be advisable for the Second Army to keep all their units as now arranged.
Then I went to the 1st Army to 51 and 54 CCS which were just opening up at Aire, under canvas side by side.
No.51 CCS is a Territorial unit – OC Lt. Colonel Fraser and Sister in charge, Miss R. M. Hook, TFNS with 14 others. Nothing is very satisfactory at present but it is to be hoped that it will be better later on. The OC spoke in the highest terms of Miss Hook and said that her courage and self-possession in their retreat from Merville was quite wonderful. They are not at all comfortable in their quarters at present – they mess in an estaminet and they have part of a marquee set apart as a Sisters’ sitting-room, the other half belonging to the Tommies. They have no Red Cross store and the Sister in charge has no office. All these things the CO is undertaking to arrange.
From there I went to No.54 CCS – OC Lt. Colonel Frankau and Sister in charge, Miss Reid, QAIMNSR, with 12 others. This is a first-rate working unit, very full, very orderly and very comfortable in every respect. All the wards were warm, well managed and clean and the patients looked well cared for. They are in need of two Theatre Sisters here. They take in officers as well as men. All the cooking, both for the hospital, officers and Sisters, is done in the hospital kitchen, the cook being a solicitor. I had lunch there and it was extremely good in every way.
From there I went to 1st Army Headquarters and saw Generals Thompson and Wallace. We discussed the various units I had seen and I told him I thought it would be necessary to move the Matron of No.39 Stationary Hospital. I arranged that I should always have a staff waiting at No.12 Stationary Hospital, St. Pol, to be sent to any unit which might be opening suddenly, and the staff of the unit which was closing should be sent direct to No.12 Stationary Hospital, where they could rest and re-equip and if any Sisters needed to be changed, the change could be made then. Arranged with the DMS that the Sisters who had now been taken from their units and were working in other units should be made permanent members of the staffs of the units to which they are at present attached, in order to avoid further moving.
From there I went to No.12 Stationary Hospital where I saw the CO, Lt. Colonel Crombe – Miss Drage, QAIMNS being the A/Matron and Sister Cooke, TFNS, the night Sister, with a staff of 44 on duty and 2 teams. They were very busy, many patients, both officers and men, but mainly sick and slightly wounded. They have an Officers’ Division for medical cases and another for surgical. The Sisters’ quarters are extremely nice in every way, with accommodation for 60. The Home Sister, Miss Sly, TFNS, is managing very well indeed. The Theatre Sister is Miss Harper, QAIMNSR and there were two teams working. Returned to Abbeville.
Left for Boulogne – went to the DDMS office and discussed with him the question of the domestic arrangements for the Portuguese Hospital as well as No.14 General Hospital, as official application had been made by both of these units for General Service VADs. With regard to the Portuguese Hospital, I pointed out that it was quite impossible to think of them having English General Service people, before even one found out whether the arrangement of allotting trained English nurses to this unit for nursing the wounded was satisfactory; and that it was one of the Matron’s responsibilities to provide suitable French servants, who could be obtained to work by the day from the village of Ambleteuse, and I felt that if suitable Portuguese orderlies were selected, the arrangement ought to answer. At any rate it should be tried and as there is a liaison officer attached to this hospital, he ought to be able to deal with any difficulties with regard to nursing or domestic arrangements with which the Matron was unable to cope.
With reference to No.14 General Hospital, the DDMSs of all bases were asked some considerable time ago to submit their scheme with regard to General Service VADs being appointed to replace men in all departments in the hospitals and quarters, so that suitable accommodation could be made for this new branch. As at that time the question of General Service VADs for the Sisters’ quarters were not submitted, it seemed as if it would not be possible to consider the question now. In any case, before anything further could be done, the question of the employment of French servants should still be continued so long as suitable ones could be obtained, and that as General Service VADs are working in large numbers in Sisters’ messes in other areas, the question of payment of French servants should be submitted and there should be no difficulty in getting authority for them to be paid from Government funds.
After seeing the DDMS I drove with the Principal Matron, Miss Blakeley, to the Portuguese Hospital, where I was met by the OC and the Matron. I inspected the quarters which even in this short time had been made quite nice. In the kitchen there were 2 French servants who were so far proving satisfactory and 2 others had been engaged. 2 respectable Portuguese batmen were assisting and both these men were already learning to speak a little English. I went into the wards which were full of heavy cases. The staff at the time of the visit was only 27 and I undertook as soon as possible to increase the number to their authorised establishment. Everything appears to be working smoothly with the exception of one Sister, the Night Sister, who had written a letter of which the censor had not approved, in which she had complained of having to work in that unit under the existing conditions. As this lady had already been interviewed by me as well as by the Principal Matron of the Boulogne area and had in both instances expressed her willingness to help to open this unit, the remarks in the letter were, to say the least of it, surprising.
From there I went to No.32 Stationary Hospital where I saw the Matron, Miss Congleton, RRC, QAIMNS. The OC was attending a conference in Boulogne. This unit has been considerably increased since my last visit and is now almost entirely hutted, well arranged and well managed. The wards give one the impression of being excellent in every respect and the patients thoroughly well looked after. All cupboards were in splendid order and the beds thoroughly well made. The wards were gay with all sorts of beautiful wild flowers, and the Sisters’ mess excellent.
From there I went to No.14 General Hospital where I saw the OC and the Matron and discussed solely the question of the desirability of obtaining suitable French servants and making the best arrangements possible under the circumstances with regard to domestic arrangements in the Sisters’ quarters. The OC and the Matron both thought this would now be possible and in the event of their inability to make satisfactory arrangements, the matter is going to be reported officially. 17 members of the General Service Section were expected quite shortly to join the Chateau Mauricien (Sick Sisters’ Hospital) to release a certain number of men, and the BRCS had taken two Villas in the neighbourhood for their accommodation.
Left after lunch for Etaples with Miss Ridley, Principal Matron, Canadians. Reported at the DDMS office and went with the A/Principal Matron, Miss Stronach, to No.24 General Hospital where I had tea and afterwards went into all the duties with reference to the management of the hospital with the new Matron, Miss Hewetson, QAIMNS Retired and undertook to inspect the hospital next day.
Returned to the DDMS office where I saw the DDMS (Colonel Barefoot) who had been going round with the Adjutant General all the hospitals in the area and who said the AG expressed himself entirely satisfied with everything. Arranged that tomorrow I should visit Nos.4, 20 and 24 General Hospitals and No.42 Stationary Hospital. Saw Colonel Balance, the Surgical Consultant, who came to see me with reference to the move of Miss Ewen from the femur wards, No.1 Canadian General Hospital, to a CCS. I told him that the Principal Matron, Miss Ridley, was in the area and that I was meeting her in the morning to go round the wards and would arrange for him to meet us there.
Left early – went to No.1 Canadian General Hospital, where I was met by the OC, the Matron and Miss Ridley. Went round the femur wards. They had over 300 fractured femurs, most of which were doing well, all in Sinclair splints – a most distressing sight. There were nearly 100 officers besides these men. The results on the whole are excellent – at the time of the visit there were 16 healed by first intention ready to go home. Met Colonel Balance and discussed with him the question of the removal of Miss Ewen and after a long consultation it was decided that as Miss Ewen had already left the unit, she should finish her course at a CCS before returning.
To 20 General Hospital where I first saw the OC, Colonel Shea, and discussed the question of increase of staff, the necessity of having a large and competent staff of trained nurses and VADs in the new Officers’ Division of 400 beds and the necessity of appointing an Acting Matron in charge. He expressed himself entirely satisfied with the present Matron and said she was excellent in every respect. The difficulty of getting suitable orderlies is daily becoming greater. I afterwards went with him, the Principal Matron, Miss Stronach, and the Matron, Miss Humphries, TFNS, all round the hospital. The new Officers’ Division was full of seriously wounded people – many fractures and many dreadful jaw cases. It is entirely hutted with first-rate accommodation in every respect – their own operating theatre and their own mess and ante-room. The question is going to be put up officially with regard to the necessity of appointing an Officer in charge and an Acting Matron, to be responsible for this very large and important division. I then went round various other wards in the hospital including the jaw wards, all of which were very full of fearfully shattered cases of a very distressing nature. Visited the Sisters’ mess which shows great signs of improvement, but the bedrooms were not at all satisfactory. This matter the Matron has undertaken to give her personal supervision to.
Then went to No.42 Stationary Hospital and saw the OC and the new Matron, Miss Ayres, QAIMNS. This unit has not been open a fortnight and everything is getting into working order. The quarters promise to be extremely nice in every respect. The table was laid and they had extremely nice damask cloths in addition to other table appointments. Miss McCormick, QAIMNS is Home Sister and is beginning to put everything into order. Had lunch with the DDMS
After lunch, inspected No.24 General Hospital. This hospital was crowded with seriously wounded people. In the Officers’ Division they have beds for 100 officers, most of these being Flying Corps Officers. All RFC officers all over France are at present admitted to this hospital where special arrangements are made for all sorts of investigations in connection with their physical condition and ability to travel in various kinds of aeroplanes, with reference to speed, altitude, etc. They have special rooms attached to the wards where all sorts of appliances to enable them to ascertain the various types of machines that it is most desirable for them to travel in and the altitude and conditions under which they can fly. Later on a large hospital is going to be built specially for Flying Corps officers where they can be nursed and treated and where all the research work can be studied.
From there I went to No.26 General Hospital where I visited the special Observation Hut where Miss Blair has recently taken over from Miss Murray who has resigned. It did not seem to be going in a very satisfactory manner. I saw the Matron, Miss Toller, QAIMNS. Here as in all other units in the area the question of increase of staff is one that is a pressing need, there is no doubt. With the amount of work there is and the constant evacuations none of the staffs seem to be adequate and now that leave is open for a certain number, most of the Matrons say it will not be possible to spare one of them. Returned to Abbeville.
Left early for the 3rd Army with Miss Ridley, Principal Matron, Canadians.
Visited No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital, where Miss Ridley remained to inspect, while I went on to Gezaincourt. The hospital was not anything like as busy as it had been though they were keeping 5 teams employed day and night. The OC Colonel Reason, was laid up, having recently had an operation for appendicitis but his condition was satisfactory.
Then I went to 29 CCS Gezaincourt, where I saw the OC Lt. Colonel Carmichael, and the Sister in charge, Miss Greaves, QAIMNSR Australia. I went into the question of how it was that S/Nurse Nicholson, CHR had been permitted to remain doing team duty for a week in the condition she arrived in. The Matron’s explanation was not at all satisfactory as although she appreciated that she was far from well she thought it was necessary to wait until the Consultant, Sir Wilmot Herringham, arrived, before sending her sick, although she knew the rules with regard to Sick Sisters and that anyone showing signs of fatigue or illness can be transferred to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital without any difficulty. At the time of the visit the unit was very slack. All the staff in this area are kept busy in consequence of arrangements having been made so that there is a constant evacuation by Ambulance Train, as soon as one train leaves another one arriving, so that there is a constant stream of people arriving and departing. The staff consisted of 7 including the Sister in charge, and they are accommodated in the chateau on the top floor and now have a mess tent and kitchen in their own compound.
I then went to 56 CCS and saw the Sister in charge, Miss Phillips, QAIMNS. This unit had also just evacuated. I did not see the OC Lt. Colonel Hichens. Here they had a staff of 6 and 3 teams as well, all of whom she reported were quite satisfactory.
No.3 CCS has now taken over the chateau as well so that this will release Miss Forrest, QAIMNS who up to the present has been in charge of 3 CCS while Miss Gedye, QAIMNS had the chateau. Had lunch at the chateau with the nursing staff, in a marquee in the grounds. Went round the hospital which was very full of officers, many badly gassed. At the time of the visit they were all very distressed as they had just lost a young officer, only 19 years of age, and the 5th son of the family to lose their lives in the present war.
From there we went to No.3 Canadian CCS at Frevent. Went round the unit, which was extremely empty. All the arrangements appear to be very satisfactory and everything was in readiness for taking in at the moment. The nursing staff are accommodated in Armstrong huts with two marquees for ante-room and mess, and a good kitchen.
Went to Headquarters of the 3rd Army now established in Hesdin, where we had tea and where the question of appointment of Theatre Sisters as part of the permanent staff of CCSs and the appointment of 3 Staff Nurses with theatre experience for team duty was discussed and approved of.
From there we went to 45 CCS which has just been established in a beautiful park with a river running through and many beautiful trees. The OC is Major Fraser, RAMC and the Sister in charge Miss Easby, CHR. There is a railway running through the grounds, and Nissen huts had been put up for the Sisters on the other side of the river. There is a staff of 5 in addition to the Sister in charge. The unit takes in mainly self-inflicted wounds.
Very wet day. Left for the 4th Army, and visited Pont Remy.
Went over 41 Stationary Hospital – OC Lt. Colonel Mahon Roberts, TF, RAMC – A/Matron, Miss Badger, QAIMNSR. The unit is all under canvas in a beautiful position on the top of a hill. The camp is one side and the other side is accommodation for officers, Sisters and personnel, also under canvas. The surgical specialist here is Major Wilson, TF. At the time of the visit there were only a few patients and they were busy getting things into order. There is every prospect of it being a first-rate and satisfactory unit. The unit opened here on the 2nd May, having closed at Gailly on the 26th March.
From there I went to Flixecourt, to Headquarters of the 4th Army, where I discussed the same arrangements with regard to theatre and team Sisters as I had done with the DMS 3rd Army, and all these proposals were agreed to. The General informed me he was hoping to open an Army Rest Camp for Officers and men at Mesnilval, near Treport, and he would be requiring a small staff. He thought in all probability it would be 53 CCS which would be opening there and he would let me know when the staff would be required and would like a nice sensible Sister in charge who would keep things going smoothly and would see that they were well fed and meals served in a proper manner.
After lunch went to Cruay to Nos.5 and 47 CCS where I saw the Sisters in charge, Miss Pool, TFNS and Miss Gray, TFNS, the OCs not being on duty. Both units seem to be working satisfactorily and smoothly and are now properly established, both messes being extremely good.
From there I went to 12 and 55 CCS at Longpre where I saw the Sisters in charge, Miss Duncan, CHR and Miss Foster, TFNS but not the OCs. These units are both side by side under canvas, the nursing staff being accommodated in billets. Everything seemed entirely satisfactory. Returned to Abbeville.
Visited 6 Stationary Hospital where I saw the OC, Colonel Harding, who is also ADMS Doullens, and the Matron, Miss Daly, QAIMNS. I visited the unit in consequence of receiving a telephone message from the OC asking me to come. On arrival I found that there were a certain number of diphtheria cases which were being nursed in a separate compound and arrangements had been made both for their messing and sleeping there, so that they were absolutely apart from the rest of the nursing staff. The Sister in charge is having considerable trouble with 3 of the staff in consequence of their resenting having to share a room. These nurses had been more than rude to Colonel Harding and he was anxious that I should see their accommodation and concur in his opinion that they should be merely transferred to an Isolation Hospital to remain there until considered free from infection. I saw the Sister in charge, Miss Macgregor who told me she had had a very trying time indeed with these three people, Miss Burke and Miss Cooper, QAIMNSR and Miss Nock TFNS. They were accommodated in Nissen Huts and the same cook who cooked for the patients was supplying all their needs. I quite agreed with the OC that there was no need to complain – the accommodation was not luxurious, but what might be expected on Active Service for everyone. It was arranged that these nurses should be transferred to the Isolation Hospital, No.16 General Hospital, and that the OC should report on their recent behaviour.
To St. Omer at 4 p.m. with Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland, whom I took to her unit in a chateau at Longuenesse, and then proceeded to 10 Stationary Hospital where I spent the night, arriving at 7 p.m. The chateau at Longuenesse is situated in most beautiful grounds and in the park is the Hospital, some distance from the chateau itself. In consequence of the late hour I merely left the Duchess and went on to the DMS 2nd Army, who was expecting me, and with whom I discussed the staff of CCSs and the question of the distribution of anaesthetists, who have recently received their certificates. He pointed out that 5 anaesthetists would be of little use as he was so short of medical officers and it would be of great assistance if 19 could be appointed to his area. I undertook to consider this matter and let him know later if the DGMS approved.
Spent the night at the Sister’s Quarters where large numbers of nurses were accommodated. No.10 Stationary Hospital was very full of patients. At 10 p.m. the warning went that the Taubes were advancing. Everyone went down to the cellars which are always kept in readiness for air-raids and where a large number of stretchers are permanently kept where the nurses sleep. The warning at St. Omer is given by ringing a bell for a quarter of an hour at a stretch, at separate intervals, until the “all clear”, a ringing of 3 slow bells, is given. The bombardment went almost continually from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Sometimes it was realised it was very near by the sudden concussion and the breaking of glass windows and at times it seemed at a distance. Everyone was in the dark and occasionally a flashlight was used to see the time. No one was alarmed – everyone was calm and some slept. During the night an ambulance arrived with a letter from the OC of the Hospital asking for 3 more Sisters to be sent in consequence of the large number of casualties being brought in. Three Sisters got up and went off and remained working for the rest of the night. In the morning it was found that there were no casualties among the nursing staff but a large number among the French population as well as British and a great many, both French and British, were brought in dead. Great credit is due to the FANY Convoy for it was their night on duty and these girls worked continually bringing in the wounded and dead from whatever place they were instructed to go. None lost their lives and none were even wounded. In the morning it was found that the water tower had been hit and the water supply had been cut. A certain number of houses had been hit and some ammunition dumps and petrol stores and part of the railway line, so it was considered the Germans would think they had had a good night.
Left early on Sunday for Esquebecq where I visited No.3 Australian and No.2 Canadian CCS. Both these units are established in fields at some distance from one another, under canvas, and the nursing staff are accommodated in the case of the Australian unit under canvas and in the case of the Canadians in billets. These units are well established, well arranged and capable of dealing with a large number of sick and wounded in a very easy manner. They have first rate theatres, receiving marquees and resuscitation wards and both OCs and Sisters in charge expressed themselves satisfied with all arrangements, the nursing staff being suitable and adequate. A heavy bombardment was going on.
From there I went to Soexe to 10 CCS just opening in a field, not far from the other two units and similar to them, when it is properly established, which it should be in a day or two.
From there I went to Berques to 44 CCS – OC Lt. Colonel Emerson and Sister in charge, Miss Woods, QAIMNS. Everything is in readiness and the unit is first-rate in every respect, both for patients (officers and men), personnel, medical officers and Sisters’ quarters. It is all under canvas with good marquees for ante-room and mess.
Form there I went to Eblinghem to 2 CCS which is just established – OC Lt. Colonel Goldsmith, and Sister in charge, Miss Potts, QAIMNSR. The unit was not going too smoothly and both requested that certain members of the nursing staff should be moved. They had just opened and had only taken in their first convoy, and when the necessary changes are made, it is hoped it will be entirely satisfactory.
No.15 CCS on the other side of the road is entirely satisfactory. Arranged that the Sister in charge, Miss Robb, should get her leave and I would send someone else to do her duty.
Then to Headquarters, DMS 2nd Army, where I told him of the arrangements I had made. Found that his chateau had not a window left and they had a very bad night the previous night. A great deal of damage had been done in the neighbourhood. He had arranged that the whole of the clerical staff should spend their nights in the country some distance away. He had also arranged for the FANY Convoy to do day duty only and their camp was being moved to Malassises where they were going into the quarters recently occupied by the General Service members. Ascertained that 13 CCS was closing and moving, and that I could make use of the staff, also that 62 CCS was moving to another area, and that 64 CCS is not yet ready for its staff. Arranged for all these nurses to proceed to 10 Stationary Hospital. Got back to 10 Stationary Hospital in time for dinner. Spent half the night in the cellars but had an unusually quiet time and at one o’clock everyone went to bed.
Went with the A/Principal Matron, Miss Hartigan, to 39 Stationary Hospital, the unit where Miss Teevan QAIMNS has just taken over the duties of A/Matron. Certain alterations are being made and the unit should be a very satisfactory one. The OC expressed himself in very warm terms at what an improvement the change of Matrons had even in such a short time made in the hospital. Here on Saturday night they had also a very trying time and the town of Aire has been terribly destroyed, nearly the whole of the fine square has now ceased to exist.
Returned to 10 Stationary Hospital to lunch and then went to two Australian units at Blendecques, Nos.1 and 2 Australian CCS. These two, with No.30 CCS, are the ones which did such wonderful work at Ana Jana recently before they suddenly had to evacuate, and where in less that 36 hours they passed more than 4000 patients through their hands. These Australian units are now opened up side by side in a splendid position – everything first-rate and in readiness for the expected attack. At No.2, the staff are accommodated in Armstrong huts with a marquee for mess, and at No.1 they are in billets with a mess tent.
Visited Headquarters, 2nd Army, where I saw the General, also Miss Thomson, Head of the FANY Convoy. Told the General what I had done and suggested that both the Sick Sisters and Infectious Sisters might be nurses at Malassises, which would take them out of the town and this he agreed to, and asked me to go and see Colonel Storrs, the OC of 18 CCS. This is an infectious unit in a big building, a chateau, where officers and Sisters (non-infectious) will now be nursed. I undertook if possible to supply the DMS with 19 anaesthetists, also arranged that a temporary staff should be waiting at 10 Stationary Hospital and that instructions would be given to the A/Principal Matron who would meet all demands from temporary staff which I would keep her supplied with – choosing as capable people as it was possible to get.
Visited Malassises – No.18 CCS Saw the OC, Colonel Storrs, and the Sister in charge, Miss Jennings, TFNS. The question of staff was discussed and it was arranged that when more help was required, it should be applied for officially. Went thoroughly into the question of the accommodation of the nursing staff, and made a great point that the recently vacated accommodation of the Sisters of 7 General Hospital should be kept entirely for the benefit of the Nursing Sisters who would be working at this unit. This he agreed to. At present in the house in the garden the officers had already taken up their position but he said he had made it plain that directly the Sisters began to arrive they would have to leave their rooms.
To 10 Stationary Hospital where I saw the OC Colonel Hine, and undertook to keep up their staff to 40.
From there I went to 1st Army Headquarters at Matringhem, to find the Headquarters had moved from there to another village at an hour’s drive distance. Arrived there 7 o’clock. Went into the question of staffs required and anaesthetists, with Captain Parkinson, as the DMS had not then arrived.
Returned to Abbeville, arriving at 9.30 p.m. having been detained for more than half-an-hour at a level crossing while troop trains were going by. Learnt of recent casualties at Etaples, and found that during my absence trenches had been dug in various places in Abbeville for the benefit of the population and all the moving population who were able to had been given orders to go into the country for the night.
Before I left Abbeville for Etaples I arranged that the whole of the office staff should be accommodated at No.2 Stationary Hospital where they would dine and have breakfast, having lunch only in their own houses. It has also been decided that during the moonlight nights no-one should come to the office after dinner.
Left for Etaples in the afternoon, arriving at the DDMS office at 7 p.m. Went with the A/Principal Matron, Miss Stronach, to No.1 Canadian General Hospital where I called upon the Matron, Miss Campbell, and inspected the quarters where the recent terrible raid had occurred and saw the rooms which had been absolutely destroyed, also the adjacent building of HRH Princess Victoria’s Rest Club for Nurses which is more or less in ruins. The only thing left intact in the building was Her Royal Highness’s picture which was on a small table on the ground floor, neither table nor picture being touched. I saw the seriously wounded Sister, Miss Lowe, CAMC who was being nursed in a hut as her condition was too serious to allow of moving her to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital. She was just conscious but was very ill. Stayed the night at the Villa Tino.
To the DDMS office where I met Miss Ridley, Principal Matron, Canadians, who had been staying at Etaples since the bombing raid. Decided that she should return to Headquarters and that I should go on with my work. During the day learnt that No.10 Stationary Hospital had been badly bombed.
Went on to Boulogne where I met Miss Thurston, Matron-in-Chief, NZEF, and after taking lunch went to the DMS 2nd Army leaving her at her own unit, the New Zealand Stationary Hospital.
I went on to No.10 Stationary Hospital which I found was almost entirely destroyed but the number of casualties was remarkably small taking into consideration the amount of damage done. None of the nursing staff were hurt but a Territorial officer, Major Elliott and another medical officer had been killed. Everyone was busy evacuating the patients to the surrounding CCSs and the question was being considered as to whether the unit should re-open or whether it would be advisable that the nursing staff should remain in their present solid building in the town. Returned to Etaples in time for dinner.
Visited Nos.24, 26 and 56 General Hospitals and No.46 Stationary Hospital, where I saw the Matrons and OCs and saw what damage had been done in the recent air raids. I instructed all Matrons to use every precaution and to be sure to send any nurses who looked the least bit over-tired or seedy off duty. Everywhere strong dug-outs are being made and in the meantime the whole of the day staff are being taken into the country in details with 2 officers and 2 NCOs in charge, the Matron and night staff remaining with the hospital
Returned to Abbeville via Boulogne and on arrival learnt that No.24 Ambulance Train at Doullens had been bombed and both the OC and Sister i/c wounded in the knee but the Sister’s wound was not of a serious nature.
Left early in the morning having received a telephone message from Doullens saying that No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital had been heavily bombed, and 3 Nursing Sisters killed and one badly wounded. Left as soon as possible with Miss Ridley, Principal Matron, Canadians. On arrival found that one huge triangle in the Citadel had been absolutely destroyed – part of it did not exist and the remainder of the roof had gone leaving only walls. The whole of the theatre and X-ray appliances had been absolutely wiped out and the people working in the theatre were not recognisable. No NCOs were on duty – those who were not killed were badly wounded. I saw the OC and the Matron who spoke in the highest terms of the work of everybody. While there the DMS of the 3rd Army arrived with the ADMS. It was arranged that all Sisters who could be spared should be moved at once and the wounded Sister transferred to Treport. There were a staff of 42 Nursing Sisters on duty. It was decided that no nursing should be done on night duty and the day staff should be considerably reduced. I was anxious that it should be reduced to 10 but the OC felt he could not carry on without 20 and although I discussed this matter with the surgical specialist, the CO’s decision held good and 20 remain.
From there I went to Gezaincourt and saw the Sisters in charge of No.3, 29 and 56 CCS. Everything was going smoothly and there was no damage of any kind.
From there I went to Frevent where Miss Ridley visited No.3 Canadian CCS whilst I went on to No.6 Stationary Hospital. Here like everywhere else everyone was keenly anxious. The town has been shelled now for two or three days but the only casualties up to the present have been amongst the civilian population and these have been considerable. In addition, they have had air-raids but there has been no loss of life in the unit. Just before I arrived a German Taube had dropped a red balloon with a message which had been taken by the OC to the Town Major but the subject of the message was unknown at the time I left the unit. This hospital is extremely well established, hutted and well sand-bagged right up to the windows both for the actual hospital huts and for officers’ and Sisters’ quarters. There is also a big dugout but it has been decided that all should remain in their huts lying on the floor. With the present Army beds this can be arranged without disturbing the patients as the legs of the beds can be doubled up and the patient let down flat on the floor. Returned to Abbeville.
SUMMARY FOR MAY 1918
No.41 Stationary Hospital, on 2.5.18: Staff supplied – 18 Trained
No.38 Casualty Clearing Station, on 7.5.18: Staff supplied – 7
No.45 Casualty Clearing Station, on 8.5.18: Staff supplied – 6
No.30 Casualty Clearing Station, on 10.5.18: Staff supplied – 5 5
No.6 Casualty Clearing Station, on 10.5.18: Staff supplied – 14
No.53 Casualty Clearing Station, on 24.5.18: Staff supplied – 8
No.8 Casualty Clearing Station, on 25.5.18: Staff supplied – 5
No.11 Casualty Clearing Station, on 25.5.18: Staff supplied – 6
Total – 69
No.63 Casualty Clearing Station, on 2.5.18: Staff released – 11
No.36 Casualty Clearing Station, on 3.5.18: Staff released – 22
No.62 Casualty Clearing Station, on 20.5.18: Staff released – 11
No.64 Casualty Clearing Station, on 20.5.18: Staff released – 13
Total – 57
Convalescent Home opened
Convalescent Home for Sisters at Hardelot (Lady Superintendent = The Lady Gifford) on 16.5.18.
Trained – 115
VADs – 50
Sent home sick
Trained – 32
VADs – 21
Returned from sick leave
Trained – 8
VADs – 5
Total at present sick in England
Trained – 115
VADs – 63
Resignations sent forward
Trained – 9 (2 for marriage)
Transfers to Home Establishment
Trained – 4
Approximate No. of leaves granted
To United Kingdom – 351
To Etretat – 6
Total – 357
VADs returned to England
Resigned – 9 (4 for marriage)
Termination of contract – 11
Transfer to Home Establishment – 2
Total – 22
Total No. of CAMC
Transferred to England – 37
Arrived in France – 50
Now in France – 797
Total No. of AANS
Transferred to England – 5
Arrived in France – 14
Now in France – 467
Miss E. M. Warnock, VAD from pleurisy, on 5.5.18
N/Sister K. M. Macdonald, CAMC (bomb wounds) on 19.5.18
N/Sister D. M. Y. Baldwin, CAMC (bomb wounds) on 29.5.18
N/Sister E. L. Pringle, CAMC (bomb wounds) on 29.5.18
N/Sister A. McPherson, CAMC (bomb wounds) on 29.5.18
Sister M. W. Bain, SJAB (bomb wounds) on 31.5.18
Died of wounds
N/Sister G. M. M. Wake, CAMC, Compound Fractured Femur, on 21.5.18
N/Sister M. Lowe, CAMC, wound of chest, penetrating, on 28.5.18
N/Sister G. D. Long, CAMC (Wrist L., Buttock L.) on 19.5.18
N/Sister I. K. G. Wishart, CAMC (contusion back) on 19.5.18
N/Sister E. A. Gallagher, CAMC (injury to eye) on 19.5.18
N/Sister M. C. Hirsch, CAMC (multiple shrapnel wounds) on 19.5.18
N/Sister B. McKinnon, CAMC (Leg. L. and back) on 19.5.18
Miss N. Marshall, VAD (GSW arm) on 19.5.18
Miss D. L. Draper, VAD (GSW scalp) on 19.5.18
Miss W. A. Brampton, VAD (wrist, and Shell shock) on 19.5.18
Miss D. M. Crewdson, VAD (slight wound wrist) on 19.5.18
S/Nurse M. de H. Smith, CHR (slight eye wound) on 19.5.18
Sister L. B. Leedam, QAIMNSR (leg L.) on 24.5.18
N/Sister M. Hodge, CAMC (Head and knee) on 29.5.18
Sister M. McKinnon, SJAB (Head) on 31.5.18
Sister E. P. Eadie, SJAB (Fractured ankle) on 31.5.18
Sister M. M. Thompson, SJAB (contusion) on 31.5.18
Sister M. M. Dann, SJAB (contusion) on 31.5.18
Sister H. M. Gubb, SJAB (contusion) on 31.5.18
Sister Sanne, BRCS (Shell shock) on 31.5.18
Miss K. M. Freshfield, VAD (Head, severe) on 31.5.18
S/Nurse B. Dascombe, QAIMNSR (Head, slight) on 31.5.18
Total requirement of nurses in the BEF according to War Establishment on the L of C, including Stationary Hospitals in the front areas:
Trained nurses – 2311
VADs and SMP – 1703
Total requirement in Front areas (CCS, Trains, Barges, etc.)
Trained nurses – 623
Total requirements in BEF
Trained nurses – 2934
VADs and SMP – 1703
Total British staff now in BEF
Trained nurses – 2475
Americans attached to British units nursed by British personnel – Trained 97
AANS attached to British units nursed by British personnel – Trained 20
VADs and Special Military Probationers – 1767
Trained nurses – 342
Grand total in BEF (including Overseas and Americans)
Trained nurses – 4886
Civilians – 26
VADs and SMP – 3380*
*includes 828 General Service VADs working in British units.
MOVEMENT OF NURSING STAFF IN THE 1ST AND 2ND ARMIES DURING THE LATTER PART OF MARCH AND THE MONTH OF APRIL, 1918, (continued from April diary)
No.1 Canadian CCS, (Sister i/c: Miss J. M. Macdonald, CAMC)
During the month of march there were several air-raids, bombs being dropped in the area, and on one occasion a patient was wounded by a bullet from an anti-aircraft gun.
27.3.18: Received orders to move back to Pernes, 12 kilometres away, for safety.
7.4.18: All serious cases evacuated.
9.4.18: Nursing staff proceeded to Pernes. The hospital was partly erected when orders were received to move to a field half a mile from the town.
14.4.18: Commenced receiving.
No.3 Australian CCS (Sister i/c: Miss A. G. Douglas, AANS)
23.3.18: During the third week in March the shelling increased and got nearer, the nearest shell falling 35 yards from the Sisters’ mess. No great damage done. The CO ordered the staff to 44 CCS as the shells had not fallen on their side of the compound. Impossible to sleep owing to continual shelling.
5.4.18: Heavy luggage removed to new camp of 44 CCS at Arneke.
11.4.18: Shells dropping still closer – war news discouraging – Germans advancing. At 4.30 p.m. nursing staff ordered to 10 Stationary Hospital. This was accomplished without accident.
12.4.18: Bad air-raid at St. Omer. Spent night in cellar.
14.4.18: The CCS closed for removal.
20.4.18: The CCS opened at Esquelbecq. 8 members rejoined, accommodated in billets.
29.4.18: Remainder of staff joined. Work very heavy.
No.62 CCS: (Sister i/c: Miss J. Duncan, ARRC, CHR)
29.3.18: Received orders to take in as an ordinary CCS, having previously been a Corps Rest Station.
13.4.18 to 25.4.18: Admitting at the rate of 300 patients every 6 hours.
25.4.18: Received orders from CO to call night staff to pack.
26.4.18: Ordered to close forthwith and proceed to 10 CCS, Arneke, which was done – nursing staff proceeding by car.
SUMMARY OF UNITS BOMBED OR SHELLED DURING MAY, 1918
Nos.22 and 23 CCS, Lozinghem, were shelled, the staff being obliged to go to the cellars. Subsequently the patients were evacuated, and the nursing staff proceeded to 12 Stationary Hospital.
An exceptionally bad air-raid took place, 3 bombs being dropped actually on No.10 Stationary Hospital. Two Medical Officers were killed and 4 wards wrecked, a number of patients being buried. There were no casualties amongst members of the nursing service.
A very severe air-raid took place over the hospitals, lasting for 3 hours. No.1 Canadian General Hospital suffered most heavily in personnel, - 1 Nursing Sister being killed, 2 severely wounded (have since died) and 5 others wounded. At No.26 General Hospital there were two minor casualties amongst the nursing staff and the Sisters’ quarters were partly wrecked. At No.46 Stationary Hospital there was one casualty – a VAD being slightly wounded. Many patients and personnel were killed and wounded. Nos.35, 37, 2 and 4 Ambulance Trains were lying at Etaples and S/Nurse M. de H. Smith, of 35 AT, was slightly wounded above the eye, but a splinter of glass. All these trains were more or less damaged.
Four shells were dropped in the Frevent area by a long range gun between 7.30 a.m. and 11 a.m., 2 more during the afternoon, and 2 during the evening. Up to the present the only casualties have been amongst the civilian population. The hospital is well sand-bagged and there is also a big dugout. Since this date, shelling has been continued, a few shells being sent over every day at regular intervals.
An attack by enemy aircraft took place at about midnight. The main building of No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital was struck by bombs and the part struck burst into flames. Two surgeons, 3 Nursing Sisters, 10 officer patients and a number of personnel and patients were killed instantly, 1 Sister was badly wounded and there were a number of other casualties. No.24 Ambulance Train which was lying at Doullens was damaged by a bomb which fell close, and the OC and Sister in charge were both wounded in the knee.
On this night there was another air-raid which lasted 2 hours. There were no casualties in the hospitals but one YMCA worker was killed and another wounded, in a car on the Paris Plage road.
There was a terrible raid right over the hospitals. Practically all the Etaples hospitals suffered, those which had the most casualties being the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade hospital, where 1 Sister was killed and 5 wounded, besides many patients and personnel, the Liverpool Merchants’ Hospital (1 Sister wounded), No.24 General Hospital (2 of the nursing staff wounded, one severely), No.56 General Hospital, where there were no casualties amongst the nursing staff but the administrative block was almost destroyed, and No.26 General Hospital, as well as the two Canadian hospitals (Nos.1 and 7) which had suffered so severely before. The St. John’s Ambulance Brigade Hospital, which was beautifully equipped, is entirely wrecked.
Besides the above raids which were specially severe, almost every area behind the lines was bombed during the month. In addition to the casualty clearing stations, the following bases suffered:
Abbeville: There were air-raids from the 15th to the 21st and from the 27th to the 31st, during which a great deal of damage was done to the town. On the 27th a bomb fell into 2 Stationary Hospital, killing one patient and wounding 6 others but there were no casualties to staff. On the 29th a bomb fell on the WAAC camp and dropped onto the trench where the girls were sheltering, killing 8 instantly, and wounding 9, one of whom died on admission to hospital.
Calais: There have been air-raids almost every night but fortunately no damage has been done to the hospitals in the area, with the exception of the Belgian hospital, where some bombs fell on the huts.
Havre: This area was raided on the night of the 28th, but the damage was not severe.
Rouen: The first raid in this area was on the 28th, when 15 bombs were dropped near the station. Since then they have had several raids and suffered some civilian casualties, but fortunately the hospitals have not suffered.
Boulogne: Several raids have occurred during the month, but the casualties have been amongst civilians only.
St. Omer: This area has been bombed frequently and severely. Before the raid of the 22nd when the hospital was struck, there had been many narrow escapes for the hospital and staff.